Knowledge visits- think like a spy, not a tourist

Knowledge Visits are a great way to learn things if the mindset is right; treat them as if it was industrial espionage.

Image from wikimedia commons

A knowledge visit is a great idea – a team goes to visit another company or another team, sees the way they work, and picks up some new ideas and new tips and hints.¬† It’s fun, it’s interesting, it’s “time out of the office”, it’s like being a tourist.

Unfortunately, this is the wrong mindset.

People should not go on a knowledge visit and think like a tourist, they should think like a spy. Think like James Bond.

Learning is an active process, not a passive process. A person on a Knowledge Visit should be working hard, hunting for knowledge, actively seeking it out, questioning, probing, scanning documents, taking copies, photographing machinery, ¬†looking for the secrets of success which they can take away and apply. The only difference between a knowledge worker on a visit, and James Bond in Goldfinger’s lair, is the behaviour of their hosts. On a knowledge visit, your host wants to help you. Unlike Goldfinger.

Imagine if James Bond acted like a knowledge tourist. You can picture the conversation afterwards.

M – well Bond, what did you learn?
Bond – I saw some very interesting things, and met some interesting people. You know they’ve developed a death ray mounted on a satellite?
M – fascinating – how does it work?
Bond – I’m not sure. There was a big button which seems to control it.
M – did you get the plans? Did you copy the specifications? Did you get any photographs?
Bond – well, I didn’t like to seem too curious.
M – Grrrrrr!

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Shared by: Nick Milton